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Gov’t-Owned Entity Launches Blockchain-As-A-Service Platform In China




A Chinese government research institute has begun offering a blockchain-as-a-service platform that aims to enable a wide range of use cases, from identity management to digital coupon issuance.

At a March 26 FinTech summit hosted by the municipal government of Hangzhou, the China Banknote Blockchain Technology Research Institute announced the rollout of its new blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform, the Blockchain Registry Open Platform (BROP). The Hangzhou-based Institute is a subsidiary of the Chinese Banknote Printing & Minting Corporation, which is run by the People's Bank of China (PBoC.) The Chinese publication Securities Times Online describes BROP as China's first blockchain platform "built and released by the 'national team.'"

The research institute's website describes BROP as a platform that allows users to prove their identities and to search, share, and authenticate information and records on the blockchain, with the ultimate goal of fostering "trusted collaboration." According to the BROP whitepaper, the BaaS platform will strive to support projects as diverse as food-tracking, medical big data systems, "identity registration and authorization," and coupon circulation. BROP describes itself as "a complete solution for registration, distribution, transfer, and supervision of digital certificates based on blockchain."

Another blockchain-related offering listed on the Research Institute's website is Block-X, a service geared toward helping financial sector players build Dapps atop the Ethereum Virtual Machine and, seemingly, in other blockchain environments. 

The Institute is also conducting research on "the construction of statutory digital currency in China" and other digital services related to the renminbi. It's unclear if the body is leading the recently-announced development of the Digital Currency (for) Electronic Payment at the PBoC.

Many of China's leading tech firms have displayed a marked interest in blockchain technology, including Tencent and Baidu, which offer their own BaaS platforms.

One major concern in government circles seems to revolve around building a degree of centralization into official blockchain networks, which arguably tend toward decentralization as a result of their architecture. This focus on centralized control was apparent in a January op-ed by PBoC deputy governor Fan Yifei, which called for a digital currency that would enable the bank alone to verify transaction data.

Recently, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology revealed plans for a National Blockchain and Distributed Accounting Technology Standardization Committee, which will recommend standards regarding "blockchain reference architectures, data format specifications, interoperability, and smart contracts."

In another development earlier this month, the government-affiliated China Investment Association announced its plans to launch the International Blockchain Investment and Development Center to support the growth of the country's blockchain sector through investment and other strategies. 

Translations by Google.

Adam Reese

Adam Reese is a Los Angeles-based writer interested in technology, domestic and international politics, social issues, infrastructure and the arts. Adam holds value in Ether, Bitcoin, and Monero.

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